Different Raya mood for family


Together at heart: Zahura Shahbani (front) and her mother will be celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri together in Shah Alam. In a break from tradition, her policeman brother who is on the front line in Tuaran, Sabah, will not be able to join them. However, they are all planning on staying connected ‘virtually’. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year will be drastically different for Zahura Shahbani, especially as she cannot celebrate it with her relatives, including her brother who works as a frontliner.

With the guidelines set in place due to Covid-19, her brother Muhammad Alif, who works as a police officer in Tuaran, Sabah, will not be able to make it home for the festive occasion.

“Since he can’t be home for Raya, we are planning to Facetime him as he is alone in a place that is far (from the family), ” she said, adding that he had been in Sabah for the past 10 years.

The 26-year-old clerk at an insurance firm said although it had been challenging for her brother, Muhammad Alif was doing what was needed for the country.

“What he does poses a risk and he is concerned (for his safety) but he continues to do it as it is his duty, ” she said.

Zahura added that her brother had observed on his rounds that there were still people who remained stubborn and did not want to follow the guidelines issued by the authorities.

“We have to adhere to what is set by the Health Ministry because this poses a risk to our own health.

“If we don’t break the chain of transmission, it will affect the economy and companies. Even now, the economy has been greatly affected.

“There have been many negative consequences and if we do not follow the standard operating procedure, there will be no end to this, ” she said.

Despite the separation from loved ones, Zahura and her family are finding ways to bring joviality to the Hari Raya celebration.

“We do miss the Hari Raya mood because usually we’ll have large gatherings with our relatives and cousins, but this year, it will only be the six of us at home.

“However, even though we are all staying home, we still want to celebrate. We have put up decorations and are planning the menu for a Raya feast, ” she said.

Zahura said her family had ordered traditional Hari Raya fare such as rendang and lemang and also prepared a set of baju Raya.

“We have never missed our annual balik kampung journey; every year, we will go back to our hometown in Ipoh.

“This is the first time we will not do so.

“But Raya is Raya. We will definitely have a celebration, only that we cannot balik kampung, ” she added.

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